Monday, 22 November 2021

NEHL Aykley Heads 27th November 2021

Hi folks,

It's on. Course is fine, there's a tree down but the course has been rerouted.
Wallis has arrived from Tow Law with the loos, and there's no problem with parking.
Route travelling from A167 is fine, and the wind will drop some more by midday.
As ever, make your own decisions on whether to travel or not, but the event is on should you want to take part.
There may be mud

Important Information on Parking, Travel, Registration etc. for NEHL Aykley Heads

Getting there

Directions to County Hall (postcode: DH1 5TP)
County Hall is a major landmark in Durham and many of you will already know where it is and how to get there. There are frequent trains to Durham from Newcastle and Darlington. The station is around half a mile from the course (see link to map) please use public transport where possible!

If you must come by car then directions are as follows:

Travelling south (e.g. from Newcastle):
Use the A.1m and turn off at Junction 62 (signposted for Durham & Sunderland). At the top of the slip road turn right at the roundabout joining the A.690 into Durham. At the next roundabout (where the dual carriageway ends) stay on the A.690 & follow signs to City Centre & Consett (straight over). At the next roundabout stay on the A.690 & follow signs for Crook, Consett & County Hall (straight over - but get in the outside lane). At the next traffic lights turn right signposted for Consett, Chester-Le- St & County Hall. Turn right at the next roundabout into County Hall – you’ve arrived!

Travelling north (e.g. from Darlington):
Use the A.1m and turn off at Junction 62 (signposted for Durham & Sunderland). At the top of the slip road turn left at the roundabout joining the A.690 into Durham. At the next roundabout (where the dual carriageway ends) stay on the A.690 & follow signs to City Centre & Consett (straight over). At the next roundabout stay on the A.690 & follow signs for Crook, Consett & County Hall (straight over - but get in the outside lane). At the next traffic lights turn right signposted for Consett, Chester-Le- St & County Hall. Turn right at the next roundabout into County Hall – you’ve arrived!

Travelling west (e.g. from Sunderland)
Use the A.690 from Sunderland or from the A.19 for Durham. At the junction of the A.690 and A.1m go straight over staying on the A.690 into Durham. At the next roundabout (where the dual carriageway ends) stay on the A.690 & follow signs to City Centre & Consett (straight over). At the next roundabout stay on the A.690 & follow signs for Crook, Consett & County Hall (straight over - but get in the outside lane). At the next traffic lights turn right signposted for Consett, Chester-Le- St & County Hall. Turn right at the next roundabout into County Hall – you’ve arrived!

Travelling East (e.g. from Crook)
Use the A.690 from Crook to Durham. At the Neville’s Cross traffic lights turn left onto the A.167. At the first roundabout turn right (4th exit) following signs for City Centre. At the next roundabout go straight over. At the next roundabout go straight over into County Hall – you’ve arrived!

Race Parking is at Durham County Hall car park only. It’s free and only 400m from the start – please do not park anywhere else, please do not try to park closer to the course as you will be charged or worse and we could lose this venue!  There will be plenty of parking for everybody at County Hall but please car share and OBEY THE CAR PARK MARSHALS’ INSTRUCTIONS!  

Officials Parking This will be on the tennis courts adjacent to the new Police HQ. Go north from the County Hall roundabout on the B.6532, turn right at the next roundabout, straight over at the next roundabout & then follow the signs.

Tent drop off We have a tent drop off point adjacent to the course. Go north from the County Hall roundabout on the B.6532, turn right at the next roundabout, straight over at the next roundabout & then follow the signs. Only use this if your tent is very heavy! There is absolutely no parking for competitors here and it is not a drop off point for latecomers. Tents must be left with the tent drop off marshals and competitors return to County Hall to park.

Registration is in the NEHL Tent close to the start/finish

Toilets - portable loos close to the race start area on the old tennis courts.


Please do not warm up on the course (narrow bits) and don't take shortcuts damaging the tape

Race HQ will be the NEHL tent, collect any pre-entries there, and call in with any queries. Entries will close midday on Friday 26th.

Never re-register someone as new who is already on the system.
I repeat this frequently but someone always does it.

If in doubt, you can look up who is registered on the list of runners:
http://harrierleague.com/runners/
or you can e-mail admin@harrierleague.com and we can check it.
Running in the wrong pack means automatic disqualification.

IMPORTANT - All age groups apart from Under 11 must be affiliated to a club, we do not allow unattached runners.

Pre entries will cost £3, Lost or replacement numbers are £5

Georgia flies through 

RACE NUMBERS 2021-22

This year there are 6 sets of numbers across the categories.

Under 11 have Yellow numbers
Under 13 have Blue numbers
Under 15 have Green numbers
Under 17/20 have Purple numbers
Senior Men have White numbers
Senior Women have Orange numbers

also in the bottom right of each number is category code:
U11, U13, U15, U17&20, M, W
On the back of each number is your chip.

RACE ORDER & TIMES for the coming season
1200 Under 11 Boys (1.5k)
1205 Under 11 Girls (1.5k)
1215 Under 17 Men (1.5 laps approx. 5k)
1220 Under 20 & Under 17 Women (1.5 laps approx 5k)
1235 Under 15 Boys (1 lap approx. 2 miles - 3.2k)
1240 Under 15 Girls (1 lap approx. 2 miles - 3.2k)
1250 Under 13 Boys (1 lap approx. 2 miles - 3.2k)
1255 Under 13 Girls (1 lap approx. 2 miles - 3.2k)
1305 Senior Women (2 laps approx. 4 miles - 6.4k)
1350 Senior Men (3 laps approx. 6 miles - 9.6k)

Age restrictions as follows:


Under 11 - must be age 9 on the day of competition
Under 13 - must be 11 on 31st August 2021.  U11s turning 11 during the season may move up to the U13s
Under 15 - must be 13 on 31st August 2021.
Under 17 men - must be 15 on 31st August 2021.
Under 17 & 20 women - must be 15 on 31st August 2021.
Senior Men - must be 17 on 31st August 2021.
Senior Women - must be 20 on 31st August 2021.


Masters men aged 65 and slower men may (if they wish) run in the 2 lap Senior Women's race, they register as per normal in the men's race, then come to race hq for a replacement number.  Masters wishing to do this must stay in the 2 lap race all season.

More mud on the bottom path


Covid-19 guidance Part of the granting of our event license is based on application of current guidance provided by gov.uk and also that provided England Athletics (https://www.englandathletics.org/athletics-and-running/news/guidance-update-2021/ ) Prior to the event when final instruction / information is sent to participating clubs (e-mail, social media) the following points will be encouraged:
  • Use hand gels / cleaning materials available at the toilets
  • Wear a mask when not running / in areas where there are larger numbers of people
  • Bring own hand gel and use frequently
  • Take 2 x LFT tests in the week leading to the event
  • Completed vaccination programme where possible / applicable
The following is mandatory: Do not attend the event if you currently display any symptoms associated with COVID-19


Monday, 8 November 2021

NEHL Lambton Action from NERunner Simon Allen

From the NERunner You tube channel This episode sees Simon run the Lambton Castle Cross Country, part of the North Eastern Harrier League 2021/22 season. It's approximately 10km in all, over 3 laps. It's not an easy one, as you'll see, but there are plenty of people from clubs across north east England, out enjoying the event.


If you're a club runner in the North East you can get in on the action too.  Next fixture is NEHL Aykley Heads in Durham on November 30th.  The course is a pretty challenging hilly mudfest - perfect xc terrain.



Sunday, 7 November 2021

English National XC Relays Report by Bill McGuirk

 MASSIVE EFFORT SEES THE POLY MAKE IT TO MANSFIELD 

IT WASN’T a sort of day expected as a happy coach of athletes, parents and supporters set off at the crack of dawn from their North Tyneside base for the trip to Mansfield’s Berry Hill Park for the annual English National Cross-Country Relay Championships. With all the relevant health forms all filled in and the usual informative! quiz sorted by Mell Carr, everything was in order for the club’s first trip away since Covid. However, after a stopover at Wetherby Services, things started to go badly wrong when, after re-joining the A1 and just half-way into the journey, the coach came to a halt on the hard shoulder and eventually couldn’t go any further. 

So, with the time of the first event in Nottinghamshire rapidly approaching was it time to panic? Certainly not especially with longterm member Vaughan Hemy at the forefront of operations. 

“Yes, it was a nightmare to begin with not knowing how long we would be stuck,’’ said Hemy. “However, one of our youngsters suggested trying to get in touch with Gosforth Harriers who were also travelling to Mansfield and luckily they were not far behind and, after contacting them, they said they had six seats spare so we quickly sorted out who was competing first on the programme and set them off on their journey with Elswick’s Jan Heslop agreeing to sort out their bib numbers on arrival. 

“After that short relief it was agreed that if the rest of the party was to make it to Mansfield it would have to be by taxi so everyone else carefully walked back to the services where a fleet of taxis were ordered which meant we could eventually continue on our journey. 

“It certainly wasn’t the best of preparations for athletes at a National competition but at the end of the day everyone made it to the venue in time for their event which certainly didn’t look promising a couple of hours earlier. “I’m extremely grateful to everyone who did what they could to get our athletes on the starting line, and a huge thank you to Gosforth Harriers and those who looked after our athletes before we managed to get there.’’ 

MANSFIELD ACTION REPORT 

Senior Men (4x5k Relay) 

GATESHEAD earned the region’s bragging rights by finishing two places ahead of rivals Morpeth thanks to one of the fastest legs of the day by Calum Johnson. It didn’t look that way at the completion of the first leg as Cameron Boyek had Morpeth in 14th place while Gateshead (Matthew Linsley) were 52 seconds adrift back in 51st place. However, things changed significantly on the second stage which saw Johnson weave his way through the traffic ahead to reach the halfway changeover point in ninth place. 

Morpeth’s Matthew Briggs lost just one place before passing on to Phil Winkler to contest the third leg. Gus Withers, on the third stage for Gateshead, lost one place to leave Gateshead in 10th position going into the final leg as Winkler dropped the Northumbrians back to 17th. On the last leg Lucas Sutherland managed to bring Gateshead home in 21st place with Jordan Scott crossing the finishing line two places behind with nine seconds separating the two clubs at the finish. 

Other NE clubs who contested the event included Houghton, with Cameron Allan their quickest finished 83rd; Gateshead B were two places back in 85th with James Cripwell their best; Gosforth finished 107th with Jonny Stephen their fastest while there were incomplete teams for Gosforth B and North Shields Poly, with Hemy, after the trails and tribulations of the journey, one of their members!

North Shields Poly's Vaughan Hemy

Senior Women (3x3k Relay) 

AFTER an absorbing contest just a couple of metres separated North Shields Poly and Elswick at the conclusion of the three-stage contest. Elswick (Judith Nutt) were in 69th place at the first changeover with the Poly (Carla Maley) one place behind. On the penultimate leg Becki Coleman moved the Poly into 61st with Elswick (Andrea Banner) four places behind. 

On the last leg Joanna Brown managed to close the gap on her NE rival but Michelle Thompson managed to hold on at the line by the narrowest of margins to come home in 57th place with Elswick one place behind. 

Junior Men (3x3k Relay) 

GATESHEAD, with the trio of Luca Minale, David Race and Ben Waterfield, finished in 25th place with Race producing the fourth fastest time on leg two. Houghton finished in 42nd position with Will Bellamy, Ciaran Lines and in-form Chris Coulson while the Poly finished with an incomplete team. 

Under-17 Women (3x2.5k Relay) 

MORPETH, with the team of Caitlan Flanagan, Abigail Leiper and Millie Breese, finished in 13th place with Breese improving 21 places on the last leg. North Shields Poly ‘A’ finished 19th, 22 seconds adrift of Morpeth while Gateshead were 35th, the Poly ‘B’ team 50th and Gosforth 51st. 

Morpeth's Under 17s

Under-17 Men (3x3k Relay) 

MORPETH are exceptionally strong at this age group and the trio of William De Vere Owen, Ryan Davies and Bertie Marr finishing in 12th place with rivals Gosforth finishing 21st while the Northumbrians’ ‘B’ team finished in 26th place out of the 62 teams which closed in. 

Under-15 Girls (3x2k Relay) 

THIS was the region’s biggest entry with five teams finishing the event which was a huge success especially for the Elswick club. The trio of Poppy Old, Poppy Wilde and Lucy Milburn finished in 12th place with the club’s second string of E Blight, S Creighton and I Russell coming home in 37th place. Sandwiched between the two were Gosforth 16th and Gateshead 23rd while Gateshead B were 39th out of 77 finishers. 

Under-15 Boys (3x2k Relay) 

Despite their troubles along the way, North Shields Poly’s managed to field two complete teams with their A team of B Sproats, D Watson and B Scantlebury finishing in 25th place while brothers Ben, Matthew and Jonathan Maley came home in 58th place for the B team. Morpeth Harriers O Tomlinson, E Mavir and O Calvert came home in 33rd spot, and Elliot Kelso, Bailey Shore and Sam Allison finished in 50th position for Elswick Harriers.

Under-13 Girls (3x2k Relay) 

MORPETH, with E Tomlinson, M Roche and M Potrac, finished in 46th place while NSP finished with an incomplete team. 

Under-13 Boys (3x2k Relay) 

POSSIBLY the Poly’s best result of the day as the trio of Oscar Makepeace, Charlie Furness and Adam Feenan, finished in 12th place. At the first changeover, Oscar was 27th, on leg two Charlie moved through to 20th before Adam, with a top 10 overall fastest time of the day, brought the club home just 33 seconds outside a podium place. 

BILL McGUIRK

Thursday, 4 November 2021

20 years of the NEHL. Looking at participation levels.

 Hi Folks, Our thought for this season is: Just how big can we go?

Many of you, actually a massive majority, will have taken up cross country in the last ten years.  Our figures for participation took some massive leaps forward when the region and country as a whole were inspired by the London 2012 Olympics, and the introduction of parkrun to the region in 2009.  Many people who hadn't ran before took their first steps at parkrun, and some of these new runners have filtered through to join clubs.

There were always a great many unattached runners taking part in the regions road races, you just have to look at numbers in the Great North Run, and the Blaydon Race to see plenty of non club athletes, but they don't or rather; were not allowed to take part in track or cross country events.

This kept numbers in the NEHL relatively low by modern standards.  

I love a good graph.

So here is a great opportunity to chuck one out here.

Imagine you're standing in the start line at Wrekenton, or Lambton, or Druridge Bay in 2021.  If you're a man, you're one of an average of 519 other guys.  As a woman you're one in 420ish.

In the year 2000, if you stood on the start line at Bedewell Park in Jarrow you'd be standing with 24 other women, or 248 men.  

The improvement in numbers in the seniors since 2000 is staggering.  The juniors numbers remain pretty stable.

Average participation in NEHL fixtures by year 2000-2021

Participation has risen steadily, then absolutely sky rocketed in in 2013.  The orange line on the graph is average female turn out at an NEHL fixture, it actually mirrors men's participation levels pretty well.  We've had a bit of a dip following the loss of the 2020 season due to covid, but the numbers are climbing again.

Those are the average figures, there's a bit of variation fixture to fixture, the results from the last 13 years look more like this

Actual participation in NEHL Fixtures by individuals 2008-2021

and here's a view without the individual finishers here (it's a little easier to look at on a mobile)

Actual participation in NEHL Fixtures by individuals 2008-2021

You can see the trend upwards from 2008, peaking at Wrekenton in 2019 with 666 finishers in the men's race and 499 finishers in the women's race.  Yes they have dropped post-pandemic, but they are climbing again.

Here are the actual numbers for finishers by race venue from 2008

Participation by venue 2014-15 season to current season
Participation by venue 2008-09 season to 2013-14 season

So, how does that stack up versus numbers registered.  Well that has changed quite a lot.  It used to be that clubs paid a flat fee to enter their *whole* team, so it was £50 regardless of if you entered 30 runners, or 300 runners.  This meant that some larger clubs were entering everyone on the books to take part, regardless of whether they had any intention of taking part.  

This changed when the league started to charge by the individual.  So while it may have seemed initially that numbers were going to drop because of clubs having to pay, they numbers of people finishing actually continued to rise.

Total registered athletes vs total numbers of participants in the NEHL

Ok so yes, bare with me, it's a big chart.

It shows how many runners clubs registered, vs how many actually completed at least one race in the season (slightly less because the M65s who run the the SW race are not counted). The bottom part of the chart is the percentage of runners taking part who have been issued a race number.

We've hit over 80% participation for the first time ever (for the records we have) in the under 13 girls age category this season.  the figures in yellow are over 70% participation.  I would absolutely love us to hit over 70% in every category.  Can we do it?  Maybe.  

The key categories to look at improving turn out are the men and under 17&20 women.  Clubs - if you can get the guys who haven't yet ran a fixture to turn out for at least one, or better still two, it would be brilliant.  

More info you can pull from these numbers is just how many master's men and women are taking part in these fixtures.  There is a marked difference between the 20-35s and the 35+ runners.  We are living longer, and our running careers are lasting longer.  There are folks with running careers spanning the decades.  As it happens looking at our very first graph today:  both Fiona Shenton and Jan Young were on the start lines at Lambton last weekend, and at Bedewell in 2000, they build those Elvet ladies to last.  

You could also say, well, we have people coming through who are new to running, they don't have the wear and tear on their legs that the mega-mileage runners of the 90s had, but there are still a great number of those very runners still taking part.

So, can we still improve participation?

Yes.

There's a massive untapped resource of folks running parkrun every weekend who would love to run cross country (honestly).  Everything from juniors through to masters, new runners, people who ran back in the day, people who have never ran before but who fancy a challenge.  Literally anyone who's ever ran Windy Nook parkrun lol,  a tough mudder, or a 10k trail race can do xc.

It's not just about quantity either, though of course my main aim is to get as many ladies turning out as the fellas, there are some fast people who could really benefit their local teams.

Your North Eastern Harrier League is either the largest or second largest league in the country depending on how you look at the numbers taking part (total number of fixtures etc), this is down to the clubs and the league working together to make these events brilliant and getting the word out to people that they can do it.

You can be a cross country runner.

#mudisgood


Vicki Thompson
NEHL Sec.

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

NEHL Lambton 2021 Report from the finish-line

LAMBTON HILLS HOLD NO FEAR FOR WEAR TRACK ACE 


MICHAEL WILSON, a sub 1:49 800m athlete, showed he is no slouch when it comes to tackling a tough six-mile cross-country event. The Sunderland Harrier lined up in the slow pack at the third Start Fitness supported North East Harrier League at Lambton Castle and, despite the tough terrain made treacherous in parts due to heavy early morning rain, he was never headed as he scampered over sections of tarmac, trails and mud! Wilson, who was having his first cross-country race since November, 2018 while at New Mexico University in the States, took full advantage of the handicap system to leave the 500-plus strong field in his wake. 

Michael Wilson - Sunderland Harriers

After the completion of the first of three circuits around the former Lion Park, Wilson was already well clear of Birtley’s David Young, Andrew Heppell (Gosforth) and Matthew Levison of Blaydon while recent North Tyneside 10k winner David Green (North Shields Poly) was cutting into the deficit from the medium pack and had worked his way through to eighth position while leading fast pack runners Liam Taylor (Sunderland), Gateshead’s Conrad Franks, Adrian Bailes (Birtley) and former Northern XC champion, Durham City’s Dan Garbutt were battling through the packed field to make inroads. Going into the final lap, Wilson had a cushion of around a minute with Young still in second place as Green moved into third ahead of Levison as the leading quartet of fast pack runners closed in on the top 20. 

At the finish Wilson came home clear of Green recording 37min 47 secs and was rewarded with the joint third fastest time overall behind Bailes who, starting from a 5min 15sec penalty, worked his way through to fourth place and record an actual time of 36:55 with Green second fastest on the course with 37:24. Young managed to hold off his fast-finishing team-mate to claim the third place award as Franks equalled Wilson’s time of 37:47 with Garbutt no doubt more than happy with his 38:13 in what was his first major competitive xc race since the Sherman Cup in January, 2020. 

Adrian Bailes runs the fastest time of the day

Things are hotting up at the half-way stage of the season with Tyne Bridge moving to the top of Division One one point ahead of Morpeth with defending champions Sunderland a further point behind in third position. In Division Two North Shields Poly move to the top two points ahead of Elswick with South Shields five points behind the Newcastle club. In Division Three Sedgefield head the table with maximum points with Tynedale moving into second place one point better than Houghton. 

SENIOR WOMEN 

IRELAND’S Annette Quaid made her harrier league debut a winning one as she led throughout the four-mile contest. Running in the Tynedale colours, Quaid quickly established an early lead and was never headed from then on despite the challenge of medium pack runner Danielle Hodgkinson of Wallsend. At the halfway point at the completion of the first circuit, Quaid was followed by Houghton’s Eleanor Daglish and Sunderland’s Michelle Avery with Hodgkinson cutting into the 2min 33sec handicap in fourth place. 

Tynedale & Ireland athlete - Annette Quaid

All the while fast pack athletes led by Morpeth’s Catriona MacDonald were gradually pulling the pacesetter back from their 5:15 deficit. Quaid duly held on for a comfortable victory (29:46) with Hodgkinson finishing runner-up 30 seconds adrift and recording the second quickest actual time of the day of 27:39. Dalglish completed the one-two three while MacDonald came through to finish in fifth position with an actual time of 27:39, 10 seconds faster than Hodgkinson. 

Catriona MacDonald (Morpeth) & Amy Fuller (Elswick)

Elswick move to the top of Division One ahead of North Shields Poly with Morpeth in third place then Heaton and Tyne Bridge tied in fourth. Tynedale continue to lead Division Two two points ahead of Sunderland while Ponteland’s lead in Division Three has been cut to one point from Low Fell. Stocksfield Striders had plenty to celebrate after coming out on top on the day. 

JUNIOR AGE GROUPS 

UNDER-17 MEN 

GATESHEAD’S Josh Blevins made his seasonal cross-country debut a winning one and his time of 17:52 was the equal fastest of the day. Morpeth’s William De Vere-Owen led for a short period before Blevins took up the running and go on and win by 52 seconds with De Vere-Owen finishing a comfortable second ahead of Durham City’s Ethan Stokes. Birtley’s Chris Perkins equalled Blevins’ time after working through from a three-minute handicap to finish in fifth position. Morpeth continue to lead the team section though Durham City, winners on the day, have cut the deficit to just two points. 

Gateshead Harrier - Josh Blevins

UNDER-17/20 WOMEN 

DARLINGTON’S Marissa Boon, competing as a guest, was first home, finishing 15 seconds ahead of medium pack runners Jessica Milburn of Gateshead and Tynedale’s Jess Sails, who was a further four seconds adrift in third position. Fastest on the course after working her way to fifth place from a 2:45 handicap was Houghton’s Hannah Pigford (under-20, 21:28) with North Shields Poly’s Holly Waugh the quickest under-17 with 21:41. Gosforth now head the table after previous leaders Morpeth slipped back to third after fielding an incomplete team. 

Marissa Boon climbs the steep bank from Wear riverside to Lambton castle

UNDER-15 BOYS 

SLOW pack runners claimed all three medal places with victory going to North Shields Poly’s Arran Head who had six seconds in hand over Sam Mason (Durham City) with Low Fell’s Ben McClean just one second further adrift in third place. The battle for the quickest time of the day was between Morpeth trio Oliver Calvert, Joseph Close and Oliver Tomlinson with Calvert edging the bragging rights by just one second over Close with Tomlinson a further five seconds adrift. With their second team success of the campaign, Morpeth head the table on four points with Birtley in second place on nine points. 


UNDER-15 GIRLS 

GATESHEAD’S Ellie Sperring pulled out all the stops to hold off Darlington guest athlete Zara Jones, the Tynesider crossing the line five seconds ahead of the visiting athlete who had worked her way through from a handicap of 1:45. Sperrin’s Gateshead team-mate Annabel Milburn completed the one-two-three as Elswick’s Poppy Old, was second quickest on the course after working her way through to fifth position. In a close contest for team honours Gateshead, after a winning day, move into pole position on four points with Elswick one point behind. 

Gateshead Harriers Ellie Sperring & Annabel Milburn

UNDER-13 BOYS 

BLAYDON’S Joe Ramshaw, in his first xc competition since September, 2019, led throughout and was rewarded with the fastest overall time of the day of 13:15. Gateshead duo Alex Lienard and Alfie Cook claimed the minor awards as Adam Feenan, winner at Wrekenton, running from the fast pack, just missed out on a medal finish in fourth position in a time just four seconds slower than Ramshaw’s. North Shields Poly, winners on the day, consolidated their lead at the top of the division and now extend their advantage to four points over Blaydon with Durham City in third position. 

Blaydon Harrier Joe Ramshaw

UNDER-13 GIRLS 

NORTH Shields Poly’s Katy Otterson has proved unbeatable this season having come out on top here and in the two previous fixtures at Wrekenton and Druridge Bay. Despite giving away a start of 1:45 Otterson managed to cross the line seven seconds ahead of Chester-le-Street’s Taylor Miller with Derwentside’s Lucy Burnett finishing in bronze medal position. North Shields Poly continue to lead the chase for the league title and are four points clear of Durham City with Morpeth in third place a further point adrift. 

Katy Otterson flies ahead of the field

UNDER-11 BOYS 

BIRTLEY’S Ed Moon repeated his Druridge Bay victory over an extended one mile course winning in 7:25, 11 seconds clear of Gateshead’s Elliott Mee with Arthur Byrne (Prudhoe) a close-up third. Despite the worst of the weather, 53 youngsters managed to finish the testing course. 

The under 11 boys set off

UNDER-11 GIRLS 

ANOTHER repeat performance from Birtley twins Nell and Kitty Graham. The pair finished one-two at both Wrekenton and Druridge Bay but this time the contest was much closer than the previous two events with Nell just edging out her sister by one second. Gateshead’s Emma Blackburn was a close-up third just six seconds behind Kitty. Special mention for Chester-le-Street’s Olivia Masters who found the tough terrain difficult but managed to battle on all the way to the finish. 

Nell & Kitty Graham lead the way in the under 11 girls

**THE NEHL moves to Aykley Heads for the fourth fixture on November 27. 

BILL McGUIRK

Photos:
Stuart Whitman Photography 
Geoff Fenwick

Monday, 25 October 2021

Start Fitness Northern Athletics Cross-Country Relay Championships 2021

 BIRTLEY BABES SHOW THE WAY IN SHEFFIELD 

NORTH EAST representation was at a premium for the Start Fitness-supported Northern Athletics Cross-Country Relay Championships in Sheffield’s Graves Park. However, for one of the few teams who made the trip to South Yorkshire the trip was certainly worthwhile. 

Birtley youngsters have certainly been in top form so far in the under-11 contests at the North East Harrier League and they continued to carry that form over against Northern oposition by leading throughout the 3x1,500m contest. 

Kitty Graham set the pattern from the off going into the lead and by the first changeover (5:23) had 17-second cushion over another NE team, Allerton, whose Connie Wilford ran 5:40, a time which proved to be the fourth fastest of the day overall. Izzy Hall took over from Kitty and her 6:03 stint showed she had added another two seconds to the advantage as Sale moved into second place ahead of Allerton (Abigail Ferguson). 

On the final leg Kitty’s twin Nell had nothing to chase but the clock and in determined mood pulled further away with every stride from the chasing pack to bring Birtley home in gold medal position in 16:42 after posting the fastest time of the day of 5:16. 

Sale finished in runners-up spot over a minute behind Birtley while Allerton’s Isabelle Smith (6:05) made a determined effort which she was rewarded with a bronze medal after hanging on for third place by one second from the fast-finishing Liverpool athlete. 

Birtley's Gold winning under 11s

In the under-11 Boys 3 stage over the same 1,500m course, Darlington were the only NE representatives finishing in eighth place with James l’anson their quickest in 5:37. 

In the under-13 girls 3x1,800m contest, a strong Liverpool Harriers finished first and second with Allerton again making the start line and finishing in ninth place with the team of Isobel Cook, Lucy Boot and Mhairi Corcoran. 

The under-13 boys‘ event was the same course as the girls and it was Darlington who were the region’s representatives finishing in ninth place with the team of Hugo Douglas-Reeves, Daniel l’anson and Finn Pentlandrice. 

The under-15 girls’ event was 3x2,000m with Allerton again carrying the flag for the region to finish in eighth spot with the trio of I Wilson, Grace Derry and Libby Acton. 

Allerton were also in action in the under-15 boys contest finishing in 15th place with the team of Sam Degazon, James O’Brien and Caleb Stanley. 

Blaydon travelled with Oscar Jolly, Joseph Lonergan and Will Collinson to contest the under-17 men’s 3x2,300m event and finished in 12th place with Will their quickest with a time of 7:44. 

From the youngest age group to the oldest, Birtley were the region’s only representatives in the senior women’s 3x2-mile contest and finished in 27th place with the trio of Tess Graham (13:13), Eve Southern (16:33) and Amy Drummond (16:03) 

The final event on the programme was the senior men’s 4x2-mile contest and here again the NE had only one team to cheer on. Sunderland Harriers were in 21st place at the first changeover through last weekend’s North Tyneside runner-up Craig Gunn (11:22). Scott Armstrong started the Wearsiders’ forward move on leg two with a time of 10:43 to hand over to Nathan Reed in 11th position. 

Reed consolidated that spot on the penultimate leg (11:13) before passing over to Steve Rankin for the glory leg. Rankin managed to reel in two rivals including Leeds City, who had evergreen former Gateshead athlete Alan Buckley contesting the final stage, Rankin managed to finish strongly to post a time of 11:24 and a total time for the quartet of 44:32. 

Despite a bitterly cold wind throughout the day, those teams which travelled to Graves Park from the North East certainly enjoyed the occasion and perhaps next time round a bigger number of clubs will endeavour to make the trip. 

BILL McGUIRK

NEHL Lambton Estate 30th October 2021

 NEHL Lambton Estate - 30th October 2021


POSTCODE NE38 9JD - Big stone gate opposite Forest Drive

Use junction 63 of the A1 & the Picktree Lane exit off the roundabout.


The entrance we're using is off Bonemill Lane.  It will be signposted.  Please follow marshals instructions and have £4 ready for parking.  Entrance on Bonemill Lane near Picktree, signposted Lambton Castle.

Entrance gate on Bonemill lane


The route has been finalised and we're happy to report that the car parking is on hard standing, so we shouldn't have any vehicles stuck on fields.

Please see map below for car parking, tent city, toilets etc.  The route takes in great views of the castle and estate and we hope you'll really enjoy the course.

Course map



REGISTRATION. In the NEHL tent near the finish.

TOILETS AND REFRESHMENTS. There are portable toilets available, please use them.  Don't pee in the bushes next to the tents, parking, or the start-finish area.  Our officials don't need to see that.

CLUB TENTS. There is ample space for club tents beside the parking, opposite the course.  Follow marshal’s directions

COURSE. Mostly woods. Hills.

There could be mud!

PLEASE DO NOT WARM UP ON THE COURSE. Use the next to tent city to warm up in (where the tents and cars are), it is massive.  The course is very narrow in places, your club will be penalised if you warm up while events are taking place.

PLEASE TAKE YOUR RUBBISH HOME. Thank you.

RACE NUMBERS

This year there are 6 sets of numbers across the categories.

Under 11 have Yellow numbers
Under 13 have Blue numbers
Under 15 have Green numbers
Under 17/20 have Purple numbers
Senior Men have White numbers
Senior Women have Orange numbers

also in the bottom right of each number is category code:
U11, U13, U15, U17&20, M, W
On the back of each number is your chip.

RACE ORDER & TIMES for the coming season
1200 Under 11 Boys (1.5k)
1205 Under 11 Girls (1.5k)
1215 Under 17 Men (1.5 laps approx. 5k)
1220 Under 20 & Under 17 Women (1.5 laps approx 5k)
1235 Under 15 Boys (1 lap approx. 2 miles - 3.2k)
1240 Under 15 Girls (1 lap approx. 2 miles - 3.2k)
1250 Under 13 Boys (1 lap approx. 2 miles - 3.2k)
1255 Under 13 Girls (1 lap approx. 2 miles - 3.2k)
1305 Senior Women (2 laps approx. 4 miles - 6.4k)
1350 Senior Men (3 laps approx. 6 miles - 9.6k)

Age restrictions as follows:


Under 11 - must be age 9 on the day of competition
Under 13 - must be 11 on 31st August 2021.  U11s turning 11 during the season may move up to the U13s
Under 15 - must be 13 on 31st August 2021.
Under 17 men - must be 15 on 31st August 2021.
Under 17 & 20 women - must be 15 on 31st August 2021.
Senior Men - must be 17 on 31st August 2021.
Senior Women - must be 20 on 31st August 2021.


Masters men aged 65 and slower men may (if they wish) run in the 2 lap Senior Women's race, they register as per normal in the men's race, then come to race hq for a replacement number.  Masters wishing to do this must stay in the 2 lap race all season.

Covid-19 guidance Part of the granting of our event license is based on application of current guidance provided by gov.uk and also that provided England Athletics (https://www.englandathletics.org/athletics-and-running/news/guidance-update-2021/ ) Prior to the event when final instruction / information is sent to participating clubs (e-mail, social media) the following points will be encouraged:
  • Use hand gels / cleaning materials available at the toilets
  • Wear a mask when not running / in areas where there are larger numbers of people
  • Bring own hand gel and use frequently
  • Take 2 x LFT tests in the week leading to the event
  • Completed vaccination programme where possible / applicable
The following is mandatory: Do not attend the event if you currently display any symptoms associated with COVID-19